Do you have a love for open-toed shoes but are never sure when is the right time or situation to wear them in? If not you are not alone. The unwritten open-toe shoe rules are a minefield if you aren’t in the know.
Wearing open-toed shoes in the wrong place or at the wrong time might not be the end of the world but it could cause you some temporary embarrassment as well as some soggy or freezing cold feet. So here’s everything you need to know about when and where to wear open-toe or peep-toe shoes.
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Can You Wear Open-Toed Shoes In The Fall?
Wearing open-toe shoes is usually dependent on the weather. Open-toed sandals and peep-toe heels are primarily worn in the spring and summer months for good reason because it is warmer and less rainy or snowy.
There is nothing worse than wearing a lovely open-toe shoe to find that your feet are freezing or wet because you misjudged the weather.
Fall is a transitional month which means that if you are thinking about wearing your open-toed shoes you should check that weather forecast before your step out of the house. Now of course if you are being transported from one place to another by car or by taxi you will probably get away with it but if you have to wait around for public transport or are walking in the street those shoes are going to cause you a problem.
Whilst wearing some opaque tights with your shoes might help with the cold they aren’t going to work with the wet. This means that if there is a hint of rain it is time to be wearing closed-toe shoes or boots instead.
It is worth noting that in recent years open toe boots have become a fall fashion trend. These are not as open as sandals so could work in the fall.
Can You Wear Peep Toe Shoes In Winter?
When it comes to winter the fashion rules tend to be much clearer. Peep-toe shoes and open-toed footwear should be left at home and replaced with closed-toe footwear that keeps your feet warm and dry.
Whilst there may be a few exceptions to this such as wearing them to a party or dressy occasion they are not suitable to be worn in the freezing wet winter weather. This includes open-toe booties which seem to be the latest fashion footwear right now.
Now of course these are unofficial fashion rules and they can be broken if you really want. If you feel comfortable wearing open-toed shoes in fall and winter it is of course entirely up to you. However, do expect to get odd looks from other people who are going to frown at your choice of footwear.
Wearing Black Stockings With Open-Toed Shoes
The informal open-toe shoe rules don’t just dictate the time of year that you wear your footwear but what you put on with them. In particular, can you wear pantyhose with those high-heeled sandals or peep-toe shoes or not?
Generally, when it comes to strappy sandals for a party or formal event most people would probably not wear stockings. Heeled sandals or peep-toe heels are associated with glamorous dresses and bare legs.
However, on less formal occasions plenty of people now wear stockings with their open-toe shoes. There are however more unwritten fashion rules if you choose to do this.
Firstly nude see-through tights are seen as old-fashioned and not something to be worn with these types of shoes or sandals. Instead, think about wearing opaque black tights or even brightly colored tights to contrast with your shoes.
Secondly where possible avoid the large seam tights that ruin the look with open-toe shoes. Instead, try and find seamless tights to keep your look streamlined and comfortable.
Can You Wear Open-Toe Shoes To a Formal Event?
When it comes to formal events the open-toe shoe rules seem to be even more complex. Formal occasions tend to send many people into a tailspin as they aren’t something you do regularly unless you are a socialite. This means that working out what the best thing to wear feels so much harder.
The first thing you need to establish is how formal is the event. If you want to play safe then it makes sense to wear a high-heel-closed toe shoe. This is because open toes shoes and sandals are linked with less formal attire. These Sam Edelman Hazel Pumps are an example of closed-toe heels that are perfect for formal wear.
However, perhaps we can take our lead from the Princess of Wales Kate Middleton who has been pictured at glamorous events dressed in a long flowing dress and open-toe sandals. Frankly, if they are good enough for the royal family there should be no problem for anyone else wearing them.
If you are going to wear them to formal events the key to getting things right is to avoid sexy sandals and opt for elegance instead. Cheap-looking peep toes heels are most definitely not to be worn. These Badgley Mischka Women’s Remi-Heeled Sandals would look perfect with an evening dress and wouldn’t look out of place at a formal event.
Open-toe shoes or sandals would also not look out of place at a summer wedding provided they are smart and sophisticated. These should usually be less glitzy than you might wear for an evening event.
For winter weddings stick to closed-toe shoes or high heels for the reasons I spoke about earlier.
Can You Wear Open-Toe Shoes For Work?
Whilst I have talked about formal occasions for my open-toe shoe rules what happens in the workplace? Can you wear open-toe shoes and sandals to the workplace or should you leave them for your private life?
Well, the answer to this one is it will depend. If you work in a creative industry where people dress down in the office or workplace then seeing your toes in sandals or shoes is perfectly acceptable.
If however, you are working in a more formal corporate environment such as banking, the law, or insurance then the answer is no way!
Open-toed shoes are just not acceptable even if you wear them with tights in a corporate office and are seen as unprofessional. Closed-toe flats or mid-height heels like these Cole Haan pumps in a dark color are what you should wear year-round to avoid your manager pulling you to one side and suggesting you wear something more suitable.
Why Are Open-Toed Shoes Unprofessional?
Open-toed shoes are seen as unprofessional for a number of different reasons.
Corporate workplaces tend to have a bit of a uniform. Sharp suits and crisp white shirts and classic footwear only. These clothes signal to others professionalism rather than fashion.
This means that when any of the staff from these companies interact with others outside of the office nobody can be distracted by their clothing. When you are making big deals or advising on legal matters this matters especially if your clients are conservative.
It isn’t just about conservatism however as open-toed sandals, shoes, and worst of all flip flops can look sloppy. Some people will know how to wear just the right open-toe shoe but others will turn up in garish stripper heels or battered sandals. Having a dress code means that nobody has to worry about what to wear and these footwear fashion crimes are avoided.
Plus who wants to look at someone else’s ugly feet? Dry skin and chipped nail varnish are never a good look so hiding toes away mean that nobody is forced to view something they don’t want to see.
A Pedicure Is Essential
When you do wear a pair of open-toed shoes don’t forget to get a pedicure and take care of your foot hygiene first. There is nothing worse than seeing feet and toes when they are not well taken care of.
So make sure that you are scrupulous with cleaning your feet and then take the time to do a full pedicure. If you don’t have time to do this yourself then go to a nail spa for a classic pedicure.
Shave Your Legs
Don’t forget your legs need to look good as well.
Shave your legs to get rid of any stubble or hair and moisturize them so that they don’t look terrible without tights.
If you have particularly pasty-looking skin like I do then you might also want to think about using a light fake tan on them as well to give yourself a little glow-up.
Toes Not Spilling Over The Edge
Finally the last of the open-toe shoe rules is one of my bugbears. Don’t wear the wrong-sized shoes so that your toes start to spill over the edge of your shoes like they are trying to escape.
Read my article on how to prevent overhanging toes in open toed shoes to prevent this footwear crime. It won’t just stop you from looking dreadful in your shoes but will also prevent a considerable amount of foot pain as well.
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